KEY BISCAYNE (CBSMiami) — A large waterspout was spotted off the coast of Key Biscayne Tuesday afternoon.

The ominous looking spout dipped down from the clouds east of Key Biscayne.

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The lunch-time rain storm formed a funnel over Biscayne Bay Tuesday and many CBS 4 viewers captured the waterspout in pictures and video. In one boater’s video you can hear the rain coming down hard, the spout in the distance clear as day.

The storm forced many boaters back to the Key Biscayne Marina, cutting fishing trips early, like Travis Wheeler’s. Wheeler and his family left the marina at sunrise and saw one small cloud.  But it was the second one, at around noon, which really got them good as they pulled into the boat slip soaked and glad to be back safe.

“We’ve been up close and personal with them a few times,” said Wheeler. “Beautiful morning, beautiful sunrise, but midway afternoon, it just got real bad.”

Longtime boater, Joey Aquino, said he takes the bad weather seriously.  He always reminds other boaters to do the same.

“If there’s a storm brewing I normally tell people either to stay in port and then wait or, if you see a waterspout, stay as far as you can because you don’t know what direction they’re gonna go.”

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While waterspouts look like tornadoes, they are generally much weaker, last for a short time, and unless they move over land, are only dangerous if they happen to pass over a boat.

Unlike tornadoes, waterspouts usually are not connected with thunderstorms, and can develop from ordinary rain clouds.

They generally form and disappear in a relatively small area.

Despite the appearance of the spout, which looks like it is sucking water from the ocean into the clouds, the watery appearance is caused by condensation in the spout. Nothing is sucked up into the cloud, but where it touches the water it can cause turbulence that makes waves and can toss boats around.

Boaters are warned to navigate away from heavy rain where the waterspouts may appear.

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